It looks like the Angels have yet another injury to a starting pitcher, and that pitcher is none other than J.C. Ramirez.
Medical update on RHP JC Ramirez:— Angels (@Angels) April 9, 2018
“After clinical examination and imaging, JC Ramirez has been diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament. Based on these findings, UCL reconstruction is the recommended plan of care.”
Ramirez, 29, was moved to the rotation last year and experienced surprisingly solid initial results. By the time the season was over, his performance stabilized as a reliable yet unspectacular addition to an injury-ravaged Angels rotation, posting 147.1 innings of work across 27 appearances (24 starts) with a 4.15 ERA, 4.71 FIP, 6.41 K/9, and 2.99 BB/9.
A severe velocity downturn in his two 2018 starts thus far indicated a serious injury for Ramirez. His 97.09 mph average on four-seam fastballs last April represented a strength against opposing hitters but that turned into a 93.34 mph this year.
Below are his velocity readings dating back to 2016, per Brooks Baseball.
Ramirez will indubitably miss the 2018 season if not a portion of 2019, too.
Luckily, the Angels have some in-house replacements available, although depth is beginning to wear thin. Pitching prospect and command wizard Jaime Barria will start on Wednesday night, making his MLB debut against the Rangers. The team also has Nick Tropeano in Salt Lake and Andrew Heaney recovering, who are able to start on Thursday and Friday, according to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register.
For those of you wondering about Tropeano and Heaney, the Angels also need starters for Thursday and Friday. I would think they are the top two candidates for those two games, in some order.— Jeff Fletcher (@JeffFletcherOCR) April 9, 2018
Surely, starting pitching depth is a prime concern for the front office to address before it becomes a major detriment to the season’s success.